Most people, outside of the agency world, look at me with their head slightly tilted when I inform them of my position as Creative Operations lead.
Some go straight to thinking of account management. Others assume that managing our profitability (aka traffic) is my primary function. Both aren’t wrong. But they are not exactly right, either =)
I have to admit – when stabled up with a group of thoroughbred creatives (we have an amazing team), it can be intimidating to show any sign of creative desire. It’s easy to hold up a tough “operations” exterior. Black & white. Dollars & Cents. Under/Over time. Deadlines. We don’t meddle in the creative side of things. We say things like “Oh I could never do that.” Rather than opening up to the possibility, we have a tendency to disqualify ourselves and leave it to the pros.
In elementary school, I remember that labels were put on people pretty quick. Smart, athletic, troublemaker, quiet. My experience was that there was always a “dumb” kid. Or at least not as smart as the rest of the class. Boredom, ADHD, lack of parenting. There always was a reason for the behavior.
But as I look back at some of those kids who once had a negative label, they’ve grown up and gone on to do wonderful things. Perhaps traditional schooling didn’t fit their learning style. Maybe they needed the rigid structure of the military to bring out their potential. Some just needed a subject matter they were passionate about. I believe God created all of us in his image; he doesn’t waste anything. He put talents and abilities in us that only he could. It is our job to find ways to bring them out and develop them.
How does this relate to creative operations? Maybe you have been labeled as “not creative”. Maybe you have even told yourself that. You’ve let the lie sneak in that you’re somehow not good enough in some capacity. I believe God has given each of us our own blend of creativity. He formed you & me in his very image. Does that mean I can hand illustrate like AK? Or mold images & type into an identity as Dave can? Or craft light and airy words like Chris Ensor? Maybe not with the same ease.
But I can see when people are their most productive and I can funnel information their way prior to that productive window. I can see that a client is not responding to emails from our team, and jump on the phone or in the car and sit down with them to resolve the disconnect. I can set up processes and organizational structure so that our team doesn’t have to worry about the details and they can do what they do best. I can see the client’s perspective, who doesn’t work in the creative field and help relay that to our team. I can run a teammate’s car up to the airport for his flight arrival so that it saves him 15 minutes on his drive home after a long trip. I can take food to our crew when they are neck-deep in a project and don’t have time to pull away.
So what do we do in creative ops? It’s simple…whatever it takes =) Maybe you can’t draw, write, design, or code. So what? Go find the creativity in you. It’s waiting to be untapped.